The city of Madrid in Spain recently banned the use of wild animals in circus performances. The ban was enacted in support of a recommendation made by the European Veterinary Federation that posited that the needs of wild animals cannot be met in a circus setting, particularly in terms of providing adequate accommodation and allowing the animals to express their natural behaviors. “We do not want this modification to be interpreted as an attack on the circus, circus history is part of the cultural heritage but in the 21st century, behind the laughter can never hide the suffering of any living being, whether human or animal,” Ignacio de Benito, general secretary of the Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party, said. All circus acts in Madrid—which is the 64th Spanish municipality to enact such a ban—will have one year to phase out any remaining wild animal performances. Nearby, Portugal announced last year that it would transition all wild animals from circuses to sanctuaries by 2024, joining a growing list of countries (such as Mexico, Iran, and the United Kingdom) to ban animal circuses.

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